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Newspapers criticise JustGiving over Westminster victim's page

27 Mar 2017 News

Screenshot of the JustGiving page for PC Keith Palmer

Fundraising website JustGiving has faced criticism in a number of papers over its refusal to waive fees on fundraising pages for the victims of the Westminister attack.

It is the second time this year that the fundraising platform has come under fire for the fees it charges for its service. 

A number of newspaper articles appeared over the weekend criticising JustGiving’s decision not to waive its fees on the fundraising page of PC Keith Palmer, who died following a terrorist attack on Westminster. The page has so far raised £730,000, meaning JustGiving will receive in the region of £30,000 of fees. However JustGiving has donated £10,000 to the page itself.

In response, the giving platform said that all of the causes it supports are deserving.

“There have been questions about the fact that JustGiving charges for its service," the response said. "We are honoured to be chosen to host millions of campaigns each year; saving children with cancer, funding pioneering surgery, remembering loved ones, building community projects, transforming education.

“All of these causes are deserving, and each pays a transparent 5 per cent fee which is fully reinvested in innovation to ensure that the next person in need who comes to JustGiving can raise more than on any other platform.”

“In these exceptional circumstances where an attack has hit the city that we at JustGiving call home, we opted to join our community and give a donation of £10,000. PC Palmer’s tragic death has touched the whole nation and in fact the world, and we are proud to have played our part in enabling the nation’s moving and generous response in his memory.”

The response came after a number of newspapers, including The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Telegraph all criticised JustGiving for not waiving its fee on the pages for PC Palmer and the other victims of the Westminster attack.

The Daily Mail accused JustGiving of “greed” and said it was “skimming” the fee off the top. It also reported that “a spokesman” from the Metropolitan Police Federation who set up the page, had said “he was ‘not happy’ about the cash going to JustGiving” and that it may ask JustGiving to make “a further contribution when the campaign ends”.

The Sun on Sunday ran an editorial which said “if JustGiving had an ounce of decency it would hand over all donations to PC Keith Palmer’s grieving family” and suggested it would rather “cream a profit on Brits generosity”.

Fraud concerns over victim's page

JustGiving also confirmed it has taken control of one page set up to raise money for a victim of the Westminster attacks, after suspicions it had been set up to defraud donors.

A spokesman for JustGiving confirmed that the organisation had decided to manage a page set up to raise money for the family of Aysha Frade, who was killed in the attack on Westminster last week.

Donors to the page had found that the name of the person who’d set up the page originally had the same name “as a woman who had been convicted of benefit fraud in 2013”.

The spokesman said that JustGiving had "some concerns of possible fraud" in relation to the page set up for Ms Frade, and as a result had taken over control of running the fund. 

“There was one page that was set-up where we had some slight suspicions and concerns of possible fraud,” said the spokesman. “We’ve now taken control of the page and are managing it to ensure that the money raised goes to the right people.”  

JustGiving have also put a message on Ms Frade’s fundraising page, and have said: “We’ve been carefully monitoring all of the pages that have been created to help those affected by Wednesday’s attack. We are ensuring that all of your kind donations are being used as intended. Because concerns were raised about this page, we are now managing it ourselves and reaching out to the family.”

The page now carries a ‘verified by JustGiving’ sticker and has now raised £23,987 from 1,175 supporters.

The spokesman said there was no suspicion or evidence to suggest any fraudulent activity had taken place with any of the other pages set up for victims of the Westminster attack, including the page set up for PC Keith Palmer. 


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